After the second dark line appeared on my at-home pregnancy test, joy and excitement jolted through my veins.
But some worries snuck their way in, too: Would our baby make it to full term? Would he or she be healthy? Was I fit to be a mom?
Keep eating right.
You may not feel ready for the full-on prenatal nutrition consult, but it is time to contact your nutritionist and make sure that any herbal or nutritional supplements you have been taking are still appropriate during the first trimester. If you’ve discontinued dairy, wheat or other potential allergens, this is not the time to add them back in without the support of a skilled nutritionist, but it is time to ensure that any eliminations you have made have not created nutritional “holes” in your nutritional status.
Practice your yoga and meditation.
When a woman becomes pregnant during our six week Yoga for Fertility class, which I am happy to report happens quite frequently, we encourage her to stay with the class and the practice during her early weeks of pregnancy. Researchers hypothesize that stress may contribute to early pregnancy loss, a phenomenon they are calling Pregnancy Stress Syndrome. The immune/endocrine imbalances that result from stress may be a trigger for pregnancy loss. As long as the yoga is gentle and the teacher is knowledgeable about what’s verboten during very early pregnancy, you’re good to go. If you don’t feel comfortable doing yoga, find a meditation or other relaxation class to attend to keep the “ritual of relaxation” going during this time
Be Aware of Your Thoughts
To become or stay positive during early pregnancy, you will need to start becoming conscious of your thoughts. Have you ever told your mind that it can’t think any negative thoughts? If you have, it most likely didn’t work. Having negative thoughts is normal to an extent — it’s how we view those negative thoughts that determines how much they impact our mood and life.
Throughout your day, pause and ask yourself what your thoughts are. Are you viewing pregnancy as positive or negative? The more you identify your thoughts, the easier monitoring them will become. When you realize you’re having a negative thought or worry, instead of instantly trying to banish it, ask yourself a few quick questions:
• Is this a useful thought?
• Is this thought true?
• What is the reality surrounding the thought?
Next, realize your thoughts are just thoughts. They’re not reality and they don’t need to have any emotions attached to them.
• Original thought— “Now that I’ve told everyone I’m pregnant, I might have a miscarriage and then I’ll need to retell everyone and I’ll be devastated.”
• New thought— “I am having a thought that I am worried about miscarriage. It makes sense why many pregnant women would worry about this: We don’t want anything to happen to our babies. But the reality is that the further I am along my pregnancy, the less likely I am to have a miscarriage.”
Another technique for minimizing negative thoughts is to become aware of them and let them drift by without becoming attached to them.
Hands-on work like massage and reiki can also help you stay calm and centered.
Think about how your dog or cat melts under your touch when they are anxious. Make sure, though, that your massage therapist knows that you are newly pregnant and is aware of any contraindicated techniques or points on the body that should not be manipulated during pregnancy.
Count Your Blessings
A quick way to get yourself into a positive mood is to make a gratitude list. Take out a journal or piece of paper and write down everything going well in your life. Here are a few examples:
• I’m thankful that my body allowed me to conceive a baby
• I’m thankful my baby is healthy
• I’m thankful I have a great healthcare team to guide me through this pregnancy
• I’m thankful that my baby will have a great father
Whenever you’re feeling down about pregnancy side effects, forcing yourself to list the positives will put you into a better mindset.
Create a Support Network
Another key to staying positive during early pregnancy is to create a supportive network including your family, friends and partner. Having people to share your worries and concerns with can make you feel a little less alone. When you’re in a negative mood, they can help provide perspective and reassurance.
Choosing a healthcare team you trust and are confident in will also boost your positivity. If you’ve never felt 100% comfortable with your family doctor, consider searching for a new one. Spend time researching a physician, midwife or doula who makes you feel uplifted.
If you’re the only woman pregnant in your circle, it may be worth meeting other expecting women so you can interact with people going through similar things. You can meet people by joining a pregnancy education class, such as a birthing or pregnancy yoga class. Another option is to join online forums and communities.